Year at a Glance
What goes on throughout a typical year at CERA? Click here to see a year-at-a-glance.
Upcoming Events at CERA
Tuesday, August 7, 2012. 10 am - 12:30 pm. Grinnell Summer Camp Field Trip.
Sample of Past Events
July 18, 2012. CERA Evening Field Tour. Hosted by CERA restoration students Colin McCallum-Cook '12, Ben Spears '12, Leslie Bean '13, and Emma Rhoades '14. See homepage for photos.
June 26, 2012. Grinnell Summer Camp Field Trip to CERA.
June 1, 2012. Reunion Weekend Tour of CERA. Sign up at the JRC registration table for transport to CERA and a tour with biology faculty.
June 2, 2012. Reunion Weekend Tour of CERA. Sign up at the JRC registration table for transport to CERA and a tour with biology faculty.
April 23, 2012. Wellness Wildflower Walk. Participants enjoyed spring with a trip to CERA for a 0.5-mile wildflower walk through oak-hickory forest. Co-sponsored by CERA and Live Well Grinnell.
April 27, 2012. Woodland Wildflower Walk. Participants hiked a 0.5-mile loop trail through our oak-hickory forest, observing mayapples, wild ginger, false rue anemone, rue anemone, violets, prairie trilliums, woodland plox, Virginia bluebells, crowfoots, columbine, Jacob's ladder, and Jack-in-the-pulpits.
April 13, 2012. Woodland Wildflower Walk. We observed a myriad of spring wildflowers in bloom. Wildflower blooms included Dutchman's breeches, trout lily, spring beauty, mayapples, wild ginger, Virginia bluebells, Jacob's ladder, false rue anemone, rue anemone, violets, and prairie trilliums.
April 7, 2012. Woodland Restoration. Energetic volunteers helped us salvage firewood-sized logs and pile branches in an area we are restoring to oak woodland. Everyone maintained great spirits even through doses of light rain. We completed the consolidation of woody debris in our "North Slope Savanna" where we are promoting the growth of the 140+ year old canopy of bur oaks and a native understory of herbaceous plants and shrubs.
February 18, 2012.Woodland Restoration. Several volunteers helped us salvage firewood-sized logs and pile branches in an area we are restoring to oak woodland.
December 3,4, 10-18, 2011. CERA was closed to the public to allow deer hunting by select individuals.
October 31, 2011. Orientation to Prescribed Burning at CERA.
September 23, and 24, 2011. Family Weekend CERA Tours.
September 12, 2011. Prairie and Savanna Walk. Several participants joined us for a field trip to CERA in honor of Iowa Prairie Heritage Week (Sept 11-17). Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
June 17 and 18, 2011. Carex Identification Workshop. Led by Dr. William Norris, Scott Zager, and Dr. Thomas Rosburg, this workshop covered identification of Iowa sedges using new keys developed by the workshop instructors.
June 3,4, 2011. Reunion Tours of CERA. Vince Eckhart, associate professor of biology, led tours of CERA for alumni.
May 24-27, 2011. Alumni Prairie Camp. We hosted our first ever land restoration service opportunity for alumni. Jennifer Riley '70, Ann Kirschner '69, Ann Guhman '70, Rick Exner '69, Ann Stillman '51, and Nick Lauter '95 traveled to CERA to help with invasive plant removal, snake and nest box monitoring, herbarium specimen collecting, pressing, and mounting, tree marking for upcoming timber stand improvement, and migratory bird banding. We appreciated their energy and enthusiasm!
April 18 and April 29, 2011. Woodland Wildflower Walks. Participants joined us for a 0.5-mile hike in our oak-hickory forest to observe a myriad of spring wildflowers in bloom. Wildflower blooms that we saw included Dutchman's breeches, trout lilies, spring beauties, bloodroot, hepatica, toothwort, mayapples, wild ginger, false rue anemone, prairie trilliums, woodland plox, Virginia bluebells, and Jack-in-the-pulpits.
April 9, 2011. Woodland Restoration. Volunteers helped us salvage firewood-sized logs from our oak-hickory forest.
March 6, 2011. Sorting Insect Soup: A Workshop for Exploring CERA Insect Diversity.
February 24, 2011. Orientation to Prescribed Burning. NOYCE 2021.
February 19, 2011. Woodland Restoration. Volunteers helped us salvage firewood-sized logs and pile branches in oak-hickory forest. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
February 19, 2011. Workshop: Representing our Native Landscapes through the Arts. DRAWING ^ SCULPTURE and INSTALLATION ^ CREATIVE WRITING ^ PHOTOGRAPHY How do we understand and represent the landscapes we live in? This workshop was an investigative starting point to this question, looking at the way we collect, examine, and represent our native landscapes. Participants were challenged to look anew at the landscape of the 365-acre Grinnell College Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) and consider how their chosen mode of representation influences the way that they see and understand the world around them. Each participant had an opportunity to create and share their form of artistic expression. Garrett Hansen ’02, workshop instructor, is currently a Future Faculty Teaching Fellow at the Herron School of Art and Design at the University of Indiana, Indianapolis. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
January 15, 2011. Insect Sorting Session. We explored malaise trap samples collected about weekly from early April to mid-October in 2010 in savanna and forest habitats at CERA. It was an opportunity for participants to practice identifying insects to Order.
September 18, 2010. Prairie Festival: A Celebration of Art, Music, and Land. 12:45 - 5 pm. We celebrated our renewed connections to the tallgrass prairie region of North America.
June 18, 19, 2010.Citizen Science: An Introduction to Insects. We offered a workshop for people interested in learning about the collection, identification, life history, and ecology of terrestrial insects. The 2-day workshop involved exploration of prairie, savanna, and forest habitats at CERA in search of insects. Participants learned various strategies and techniques for finding and collecting insects, in addition to methods for identification. To see photos of the event, please visit the BugGuide.net website under their "Calendar".
April 16 and May 7, 2009. 4:15 to 6:15 pm. Annual Woodland Wildflower Walks. Celebrate Iowa Wildflower Week (May 2-8) with a walk in the woods!
February 20 and April 10, 2010. Oak Woodland Restoration events for volunteers.
November 4, 2009. Prescribed Fire Training for CERA Volunteers. NOTE CAMPUS LOCATION: Noyce 2021. This training session is a must for anyone who would like to assist with prescribed burns at CERA. Participants will learn where, why, and how we conduct burns, and how volunteers can help. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies. Contact Larissa Mottl at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
October 6, 2009. Prairie Seed Harvesting. Volunteers helped collect seed from various prairie species at CERA. The seed will be used to diversify other plantings at CERA. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
September 17, 2009. Prairie and Savanna Walk. This tour highlighted the diversity of plants in our prairies and bur oak savannas. Some of the species often seen in bloom in mid-September include showy goldenrod, sky blue aster, hairy aster, upland white aster, rigid goldenrod, saw-tooth sunflower, great blue lobelia, and bottle gentian. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies.
Late March-April. Prescribed Prairie Burns. Visit the Volunteer page to find out more about seasonal prescribed burns. A training session was held November 4, 2008.
February 14, 2009.Art Activity with Prairie Plants, and Outdoor Signs of Life in Winter. Tilly Woodward, curator of academic and public outreach with the Faulconer Gallery, led an art activity for kids of all ages as part of a "Reconnecting with Nature" symposium. The activity involved collecting various prairie plant parts outside (or using materials already gathered) and arranging the parts on light-sensitive paper. Participants worked with a photo enlarger and exposed the paper through a dark room process. While the art activity took place, Mark Wagner, director of visitor experience at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, Dubuque, IA, gave a presentation and led a walk at CERA with the goal of identifying "Outdoor Signs of Life in Winter".
Nov 1, 2008. 12:45 - 2:15 pm. Tallgrass Bioneers Conference Tour. Led by Chris Bair.
October 1, 2008. 1:00 pm. Stewart Library Book Club CERA Tour.
September 26, 2008. North Mahaska 5th Grade Class Field Trip. The students learned how to catch and release fish, identify trees, and various orienteering skills.
September 20, 2008. 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm. CERA 40th Anniversary Celebration (during Family Weekend). We celebrated this special anniversary with presentations, tours of the facilities and surrounding landscape, and refreshments. We had slideshows highlighting CERA's past and present and research posters by students on display. Click here for more information and a schedule of the afternoon's activities at CERA.
September 13, 2008. 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. HHMI Interdisciplinary Science Retreat.
July 9, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm. Prairie and EEC Tour for Grinnell Area Teens. Organized by Grinnell's Stewart Library.
July 8, 2008. 6:30-8:30 pm. Prairie Tour, celebrating the purchase of CERA 40 years ago.
June 27 and Saturday, June 28, 2008. Sedge Identification Workshop. This 2-day workshop included both classroom and field components. Instructors: Dr. Bill Norris, Dr. Tom Rosburg, and Scott Zager, experts on Midwestern sedges. Sponsored by the Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies, Iowa Valley RC & D, Iowa Native Plant Society, and the Iowa Prairie Network.
May 30 and May 31, 2008. 7:00 - 9:00 am. Reunion Weekend Tour: commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Conard Environmental Research Area. Led by professors of biology.
May 4, 2008. Migratory songbird mist-netting and banding.
April 17, 2008. 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. American Institute of Architects, Iowa Chapter Meeting.
April 14, 2008. 1:15 pm. Prairie Tour for Central Iowa Christian School.
February 1, 2008. 2:15 - 5:00 pm. Prairie Seed Cleaning. A winter retreat in our new Environmental Education Center. Attendees learned how to use a variety of seed cleaning equipment to remove hand-collected native seeds from fruits and other flower parts. The EEC seed cleaning laboratory offers a beautiful view of the surrounding prairie landscape.
November - December, 2007. Prescribed burning of prairie, savanna, and woodland habitats. A volunteer training session was held October 30.
October 26, 2007. 9:30 am - 10:30 am. EEC Tour and LEED Presentation for the Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, led by Rick Whitney and Larissa Mottl. The group of about 15 also toured two other LEED-certified buildings in eastern Iowa including Lowe Park in Marion and James Van Allen Elementary School in North Liberty.
November 13, 2007. 9:15 am - 10:30 am. EEC Renewable Energy Building Audit Tour. Newton First Lego League 6th grade students. Led by Larissa Mottl and Chris Bair, Grinnell College Environmental and Safety Coordinator.
October 20, 2007. Bioneers Conference tour of the LEED gold-rated Environmental Education Center and surrounding prairie and savanna landscape. Tour led by Larissa Mottl, CERA manager, and Chris Bair, environmental and safety coordinator for Grinnell College.
October 16, 2007 (Postponed from October 2). Prairie Seed Hand Harvesting. Seeds collected from various grasses and forbs in our prairie plantings will be used to diversify other plantings at CERA. Volunteers were taught how to identify several prairie species in fruit.
October 7, 2007. Prairie Hike and Pie Tasting. Prairie enthusiasts hiked at the Reichelt Prairie Remnant off Hwy 6, just north of CERA. This high quality remnant contains several very rare prairie species. Iowa Prairie Network members were on hand to help identify plants. After the hike, all enjoyed pie tasting at the EEC in honor of Martha Skillman's birthday.
September 29, 2007. 7:30 am - 9:30 am and 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm. Family Weekend Tours of CERA. A faculty-led tour of the research area and environmental education center. September 17, 2007. 4:15 pm - 6:15 pm. Prairie and Savanna Tour. This tour highlighted the diversity of plants in our prairies and bur oak savannas. Some of the species often seen in bloom include showy goldenrod, sky blue aster, hairy aster, upland white aster, rigid goldenrod, saw-tooth sunflower, great blue lobelia, and bottle gentian.
September 7, 2007. 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm. Prairie Night Sights and Sounds. A rare adventure at CERA to learn the sounds and habits of nocturnal prairie animals and to interpret the stars in a prairie night sky. A few particular treats were baiting stations for moths and other insects and a telescope to view the night sky in greater detail. Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies, Biology Dept, and Physics Dept.
August 28, 2007. 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. New Student Orientation Tour of CERA.
June 2. 7:00 am - 9:00 am, or 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm. Tour of CERA and our LEED certified Environmental Education Center for Reunion weekend.
May 12, 2007. Festival on the Prairie: A Celebration of Art, Music, and the Land. This event was free and open to the public. Throughout the afternoon there were arts and crafts activities for children sponsored by Studio 6. Local restaurants provided refreshments. PrairieFestival.pdf
April 23, 2007. Iowa Valley Community College Environmental Science Class Tour of CERA.
April 21, 2007 (morning and early afternoon). Bird Banding. Rob Bradley, a licensed bird bander, and Bob Van Ersvelde, president of the local Tallgrass Prairie Audubon Chapter, helped us mist-net and band non-game birds in savanna and woodland habitats at CERA. This was an exceptional opportunity to learn natural history about birds and see migratory songbirds up close and personal. Our bird observations will be contributed to a national depository at the U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center Bird Banding Laboratory.
April 17, 2007. Forest Scavenger Hunt for Grinnell Cub Scouts.
February 2, 2007. Prairie Seed Cleaning. A winter retreat in our new Environmental Education Center. Attendees learned how to use a variety of seed cleaning equipment to remove hand-collected native seeds from fruits and other flower parts. The EEC seed cleaning laboratory offered a beautiful view of the surrounding prairie landscape.
October 10, 2006. Prairie Seed Harvesting at the Reichelt Prairie Remnant. Volunteers helped hand collect prairie seed from a DNR prairie remnant located west of Grinnell on Hwy 6. The seed was given to the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge near Prairie City, Iowa for prairie reconstruction efforts there.
October 2, 2006. Prairie Seed Harvesting at CERA. Volunteers helped hand collect prairie seed for planting at CERA.
September 22 and Monday, September 25, 2006. Prairie Insect Field Trips. Grinnell-Newberg fourth-graders visited CERA for their annual prairie insect activities.
September 16, 2006. Iowa Native Plant Society Field Trip. Iowa Native Plant Society members led a tour of our remnant prairie and savanna restorations. The tour also included a look at field experiments on seeding woodland herbaceous species and the effects of fire, mowing, and season of fire on reconstructed prairie.
September 16, 2006. Family Weekend Tours of CERA led by Biology Faculty. One of the highlights of the tour was the Environmental Education Center, the first building in Iowa to receive a gold rating by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
September 14, 2006. Prairie and Savanna Tour. A tour of reconstructed prairie and oak savanna restorations.